Tag Archives: winter

Best Of 2016

28 Dec

 

2016 was a year of photographic growth for me.  I set several technical goals for myself as a way of pushing myself to be consistently better at my craft, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.  I’ll admit, it was often a mix of trial and error (a lot of error), persistence, and supportive people around me but I feel like I made a noticeable difference in the quality of my images.

This year, I made a consistent effort to focus stack where appropriate, to really keep an eye on my histogram so that I wasn’t shooting 12 frames when I really needed 1 or 2, and I tried improving both my night sky/milky way techniques and lightning images.  Those in-the-field efforts are represented in this “Best of…” gallery.

 

I’ve also grown in the editing arena, an area we can always work on, no matter how accomplished we are.  I feel like my ability to *see* the weak areas of a raw image, and my ability to enhance the light in a positive way with my edits has grown immeasurably.  Again, this was a matter of practice, feedback and support from my peers.  I’m particularly proud of my Opal Creek wilderness forest shot, as it involved some creative shaping of the light.

 

The winter image in the gallery was a conscious attempt to force myself out of hibernation.  Apparently, I need to do that more often – turns out winter light is lovely! Lol

And finally, the biggest reason I chose all of these images was the LIFE they represent.

I suspect it’s human nature to take things for granted – we developed our ability to tune things out as part of our survival mechanisms (because how could our ancestors focus on important things like hunting and gathering if they were constantly distracted by…oh, the wind!  Oh, shiny rock! Oh, noise!  Oh, a bird!  What was I doing again??).  Therefore, it takes a conscious effort to remember to appreciate the blessings in our life.

 

Write that life lesson down, folks.  It’s particularly important in the relationships you hold dear.

So where am I going with this?  Well, I’m an American woman.  Currently, that means the law considers me to be a person with inherent rights, one of which is the ability to obtain resources and pursue my life aspirations.  On the whims of fate, I was born here.  I am not viewed as property, or less than human.  I have the stability provided by a nation dedicated to protecting our freedoms.  I am educated.  Compared to so many places in the world, I grew up like a queen – I had food, clean water, health care, and never had the threat of war, unrest and violence looming on my doorstep every day.  Although America isn’t perfect, I am GRATEFUL every day for the progressive ideas that surrounds me.  As a country we can always improve.  We are but a nation of flawed humans afterall, and will always have room to be better versions of ourselves…. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t already holding the human rights bar pretty high and I desperately hope we continue to do so abundantly, and equally across the country.

Because I was blessed be born in a place that respects my rights and raised to believe in pursuing my dream (so much thanks to my family for always inspiring and encouraging me), I have seen and experienced SO MUCH JOY all in pursuit of a photograph.  I have traveled to places that have stolen my breath.  I have met some incredibly interesting, funny and supportive people who are a constant source of light in my life.  I have taken chances that have fed my soul.

 

In 2016, I was able to see the forest and seascapes (and….uh…wildlife) of Oregon and Northern California, the towering waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, try out the delightful food trucks in Portland and have my heart swell at the beauty of the Steens Mountains and the Alvord desert.  I soaked in a hot spring, while smiling with strangers.  I sat under the stars with friends, and pretended to play a violin under the Milky Way.  I explored NY and much of New England.  I was assaulted by a frog near the Adirondacks, got to see bald eagles in Acadia, the wild ponies on Assateague and black bears in Shenandoah.

I have taught photography students and built friendships around the world through Light & Landscape (thanks for that opportunity Matt!), I wrote another photography book with my business-partner-in-not-crime David, I was blessed to photograph weddings for some amazing couples with my other business-partner-in-not-crime Melissa, worked with one of this year’s 40 under 40 winners (you rock, Fitz!), refined my inner photo-journalist with freelance assignments through the newspaper (shout out to Jared and the staff at the paper for the feedback and encouragement), and saw AMAZING shows / met some wonderful musicians during my nights as a concert photographer (so much thanks to the venue, Kathy, Pat and Angelo).

 

In short, I have the freedom to LIVE THE LIFE I WANT and these photos represent the landscape side of that.  They are a reminder to be THANKFUL EVERY DAY.

Remember to count your blessings often, and appreciate the people and things that enrich your lives.  Dwell on the positive, and embrace GRATITUDE instead of criticism. Open your heart to the people that care and the endless possibilities in front of you.  Take chances, even knowing you may fail….failure can generally be overcome, but you’ll never get back the time you waste on “What ifs”.  Travel as often as you are able to responsibly do so, so that you can learn about the magical places in the world….how else will you learn to cherish and protect them?  As you travel near or far, make sure to appreciate that you have the ability to do so.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017!

Winds of Winter

3 Feb
Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

Winds of Winter :: Massachusetts

This was one of those beautiful, chaotic moments in nature where you feel both overwhelmed and at peace with the colors, textures and the cold breath of the season.  Mother Nature is truly an artist.

This image is also a prime example of why I love clouds and sky texture so damn much. 🙂

Winter Solstice

22 Dec
Solstice

Solstice

This past weekend was the solstice for 2014, and we finally got a taste of winter.  Ice, snow and brrrrrrrrrrrr (cold)!  Sure did make for a nice hike and some pretty pictures though. 🙂

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season so far!

xo

Shannon

Winter Wonderland

18 Dec
Diana's Pool :: CT

Diana’s Pool :: CT

This time of year, photography time is at a premium.  The sun isn’t up for very long before I leave for the day job, and it’s down before I’m done with work.  Furthermore, winter hasn’t quite arrived yet….but I’m pining for some snow photos.

 

Today, I’m pulling one from the archives to share with you.  Hopefully that will tide me over until the snow arrives here in CT.  Hope you enjoy! 🙂

 

xo

Shannon

 

(Wintery) Mixed Feelings

5 Mar
The Road Home

The Road Home

See what I did there??  Wintery mix? Get it??

Well, we’ve made it to March.  Spring is just around the corner.  I mean, it’s still 5 degrees out, but officially we have less than 20 days left of winter and I honestly can not wait for warmer weather.  I mean…Northern lights, Iceland, dog sledding…they’re all on the to-do list.  But with none of those being in my immediate future, the next best thing would be a few 60 degree days.  Please and thank you.

So…where do the mixed feelings come in?  New England can be so dang quaint in the winter.

Wrapped in Soft Silence

Wrapped in Soft Silence

The first photo is a pretty typical scene around these parts.  Old tobacco sheds are found all over the top half of the state, and when I stumbled (aka, took an adventure-drive) on the scene, it immediately felt like home.

The second photo is from what I like to remember as Narnia-Day.  It was our first snow fall of the year, and it was one of those soft, gentle falls that feels like you’re walking through a Walt Whitman poem.  Or the Wardrobe.  If I were in a movie (other than a CS Lewis flick), I would look up at the falling snow, with my hands in the air while the camera spun around me, focusing on the snowflakes landing in my eyelashes.  Yeah, it was that kind of day.

So, until we start to see a few warmer days, which…did I mention…I’m looking forward to?…then I will try to remember to appreciate the beauty (and the hot cocoa) of the hardest season of the year.  Now, move over Starks!  Spring is coming.

The Cabin in the Woods

20 Feb
The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods

Looks like a nice little place to go warm your toes, huh? 🙂  These last few weeks have been snow, snow and more snow.  I still can’t say I love the cold, but it sure does make for some nice photos!

This was taken in upper CT, along a quiet cross-country ski trail by a frozen lake in the winter woods.  It is just one of the many hidden gems to be found out on the east coast.  What we Nutmeggers (yeah…that’s what they call people from Connecticut…I know, I know…) lack in broad sweeping vistas and notable landmarks, we often make up for in scenes like this.  Living here really encourages us to explore…because you never know what you’ll find if you’re willing to go just a little further off the beaten path.  Or in this case, down the ski-path!

A few years back I found a necklace in a small shop on the Cape. It’s a charm with a picture of a compass, and inscribed on it are the words, “Explore. Create. Believe.”  The words stuck with me as both a motto for what I want my life to be, and encouragement to push my photo work just a little further and have faith in the results.  The necklace is a daily reminder that you never know what incredible things are waiting for you up around the bend…you just have to get there.

Thanks for the continued support!! You are all a source of inspiration to me. 🙂

Shannon

Pennies Add Up

6 Feb
Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

Winter is fully upon us, and life has been 100% getting in the way of shooting.  I am actually planning, weather permitting, to finally get out and shoot today.  Forecast?…more snow photos are in your future. haha

Care

In the meantime, I’ve spent my time editing my photos from Peru, trying to finish up that folder so I can make some use of the images I shot.  At the moment, my plan is to submit them for publication….so you can’t see most of them yet. haha  But trust me, they are awesome.

I’ve also spent some time “house keeping”, so to speak.  I’ve had a lot of little things to do, and no time to do them.  One of those many things was making a donation to CARE.org….YOUR donation, in fact.  For those of you who spent a little time shopping in my store…well, clap yourselves on the back.  You did a great thing.  Not only did you get something purty to hang on your wall (or an awesome mug to drink out of, or a card for your friends…etc) but you made a difference in someone’s life.

Karma points, in da bank!

So, many thanks to all of you for helping me make the goal of a donation to the Philippines a reality.  I could not possibly have done so without your support.  You Rock!

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read up on the project here.  Also, if you haven’t already done so, please follow me on my FB page, where you can timely updates on the things happening with SSP….the movin’ and the shakin’.

xoxo

Shannon